I had the privilege of facilitating an empowerment and happiness workshop at a shelter. Keep it simple, I was told. Indeed, it was a gathering of women from Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Vietnam and Singapore. Language was a barrier but we managed well and only because those who could speak English helped me to translate (plus help from Google Translate too!). As words in Hindi, Tamil, Burmese and English crossed, I sat back and listened.
At times, it seemed that the translations are a little different, much longer and more animated compared to what I had just shared. So I asked one of those who translated what she just said. She repeated what I said and then she added her own additions.
“It is like having a 5kg load to carry. We still have the 5kg load but now we have a trolley to help us carry the load.”
I smiled and thanked her for adding such a brilliant metaphor. Indeed, life can be effortless when we are equipped with better coping tools and new perspectives.
Before leaving, I thanked them again for the two way sharing and told them that I learnt as much from them as they do from me. They beamed and I knew for sure that they have discovered important aspects of themselves that evening.
Again, I am convinced that one of the most effective ways to empower others is not only to give but to acknowledge their agency and facilitate the discovery of their inner power and ability to contribute.